I'm Chris, British and live in Normandy, France. I have a gite which sleeps 6 people and the main house is next door. Both the gite and the house have gardens which need maintaining. There is also ongoing DIY and maintenance work in the main house. I'm relaxed about what needs doing as long as there is an extra pair(s) of hands to help me to get jobs done.
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I speak English and French and am happy to converse in either language. I speak a little Spanish too. I undertook a work placement in France when I was younger so would like to share my view of how that experience has shaped my life and give volunteers a chance to do the same. On a practical level, volunteers will learn how maintaining land/gardening is different from the UK, for example. The pace of life here tends to be slower and less commercial. I moved here from London so now have a completely different life - more mud and less macchiato. The gite was a renovation project so if this is something you're interested in learning about, I can share my renovation journey with you. As an aside, it's an opportunity to see how a small business runs and all the other tasks that I do in the evenings - dealing with customers, taking bookings, marketing, accounts etc. There are also the delights of Normandy to explore - whether that's fresh produce from the market, the wonderful coastline or the place it holds in history.
There's plenty of gardening as the garden has been neglected for the past couple of years. There's also a garden belonging to the gite which needs to look smart. There may be some maintenance in the gite and a spring clean before the main season starts. After the summer season, there's gite maintenance to do. In the main house, it's the same and there's also painting and decorating to be done. The main house gets neglected during the summer season so needs re-organising, de-cluttering and cleaning. You don't need any particular skills - just a willingness to try and give something a go.
If the gite is available, volunteers can stay here and will have the entire place to themselves. It's spacious and contemporary and well equipped. If the gite is booked, then a private room is available in the main house. There is also a private bathroom.
I blog about the area so every now again, I take my camera and go and explore a part of Normandy I've perhaps not been to before. Volunteers would be very welcome to join me. If you have your own transport then the coastline, D-Day landing beaches and Bayeux are all within reach. The jewel in Normandy's crown is Le Mont St Michel - a small island village with a stunning abbey perched on the top.
If you don't have your own transport, you're welcome to come along with me when I go out (even if it's to the local market). There are a couple of bicycles here but they would need some TLC as they've not been used for a while. I can be flexible about days to be worked so that you can have time to explore the local area if you would like to. Arrangements for eating can be flexible too. I would cook and share an evening meal and if you're vegetarian that's not a problem. Breakfast and lunch tend to be simple. Respect and consideration are important to me. I'd view this is a partnership, an exchange and a learning opportunity on both sides.
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Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week